Go Native! Top plants for Colorado birds

With the Denver area growing at break neck speed, the small open fields that provided food and shelter are quickly dissapearing. In my area they are being filled by car washes and auto parts stores.

It’s ever more important that the garden feeds our birds and the insects that feed their chicks. Providing birds, catapillars and butterflies the food they need can be challenging especially if you have a small yard. To help the Colorado home gardener, here’s a top 10 list of the native plants. Rated based on the number of birds and insects they support, as well as the birds they feed.

To source natives, I looked at the Audobon Native list and the Colorado Native Plant Society shade list. I’ve created a personal list with Audobon’s help. I have found good retailers like Prairie Nursery who provides a map showing where species are native. Plants or seeds may be available. You might also look to American Meadows and Prairie Moon Nursery I can’t forget High Country Gardens that is a mainstay for the Southwest gardener.

Online nurseries that sell these natives have been linked to the Plant name, if you would like to purchase these natives.

Sadly not many local nurseries provide native species. If you know of great native growers please let me know!

Plant NameScientific NameMay attract
Little False Bluestem
bluestem
Schizachyrium scopariumCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Orioles, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Wrens
Side-Oats Grama

Bouteloua curtipendulaCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Crows & Jays, Finches, Sparrows
Choke Cherry

Prunus virginianaCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Crows & Jays, Mockingbirds & Thrashers, Nuthatches, Orioles, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Woodpeckers, Wrens
Golden Currant

Ribes aureumCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Crows & Jays, Mockingbirds & Thrashers, Orioles, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Wrens
Red Bearberry

Arctostaphylos uva-ursiCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Crows & Jays, Mockingbirds & Thrashers, Orioles, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Wrens
Saskatoon Service-Berry

Amelanchier alnifoliaCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Crows & Jays, Finches, Mockingbirds & Thrashers, Nuthatches, Orioles, Sparrows, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Woodpeckers, Wrens
Eaton’s Firecracker

Penstemon eatoniiCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Hummingbirds, Orioles, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Wrens
Gray Goldenrod

Solidago nemoralisCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Crows & Jays, Finches, Orioles, Sparrows, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Wrens
Great Blue Lobelia

Lobelia siphiliticaCardinals & Grosbeaks, Chickadees & Titmice, Hummingbirds, Orioles, Thrushes, Vireos, Waxwings, Wood Warblers, Wrens

Birds are not the only ones you need to feed. How about looking into host plants for butterflies?

Adding Butterfly host plants

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